In each issue of ‘beyond the I’, this column presents a first-hand account of a visually impaired person’s experiences in the ‘real’ world. Madhubala Sharma tells us about the butterflies in her stomach on her first day in office, and how she overcame her nervousness
When we step into our professional life, the first day is one of the most memorable one for everyone. It is not only the first step towards our new career, but also into a new environment. We face many challenges of familiarising ourselves with the workspace, with our colleagues and many other things.
I have earlier worked with General Electric (G.E.) as a voice and accent trainer, with Freedom Scientific as a software tester, and am now am working with I.B.M.-Daksh as a voice and accent trainer. On my first day at these companies, like any other person, I was excited about my work and meeting new people.
The day when I started training at I.B.M.-Daksh is one such day and it is still fresh in my memory.
This was the first time when I was going to be in charge of around 15 trainees; I was to train them on their voice and accent skills. Like any person, whether sighted or visually disabled, I was both nervous and excited about the day. It was very important for me to ensure that I be at par with everyone, that I could do what the others could.
The first thing was to ensure that I did not lack in the critical areas and fulfilled the expectations of a good trainer. So, I met one of the team leaders and, with her guidance, got to know what kind of support I was supposed to provide to the trainees. Having collected all the training material and stationery for my batch, she assisted me to the training room, and helped me familiarise myself with the training room. This was of real help because it is a little difficult for a person with visual disability to get the orientation of a training facility for the first time. Since it is vital to maintain eye contact with the trainees to be effective as a trainer, and to have a face-to-face connection with them, one also needs a sense of direction. Hence orientation of the room becomes critical. Therefore, knowledge about the smallest of details comes in handy, that is, the sitting arrangement of the trainees, fixtures in the room, etc. Being aware of all this, I now felt confident in facing the group not only on the first day, but also on the days to follow.
Having ensured all this, and many other things that would set the pace for training, the next step was to raise the comfort level with the batch, to build their confidence in me. The usual tendency among people is to assume that a visually disabled person cannot train anybody. This view could be altered only by being confident myself, having confidence in others, and raising their level of trust in me.
I remember all this vividly because, as it was my first batch, it was a challenge for me. The first day was a success, however, and helped me maintain comfort levels on subsequent days and be successful as a trainer.
Do you have an 'everyday' experience you would like to recount? Write in to us at.